Amid the current economic anxiety, content partners are likely feeling the squeeze as some of their brand partners pull back on partnership programs. Whether brands are capping the volume of traffic on which partners can earn a commission or pausing their programs altogether, these moves have a negative effect on content partners’ bottom line.
While content partners who have seen their biggest brand partners pull back on their programs may be in an unenviable position, they’re not completely out of hope. There are options for moving forward, provided the referral partners are paying attention to the changes and acting accordingly. There’s a chance to operate a nimble, more diverse partner portfolio, and come out on the other side of a recession with more promising revenue prospects.
- Don’t fall asleep at the wheel
Content partners who are slow to adapt in these times are the ones who are going to have the hardest time recovering their revenue. Even in the best times, it’s critical to closely watch partner payouts and understand overall performance, and which brand or retail partners are contributing the most revenue. In uncertain times, watch these numbers even more closely, so that you’re aware of potential slowdowns or changing payouts.
In addition to constantly monitoring their performance, content partners can check the impact.com marketplace—a part of the impact.com for Publishers suite—for notifications from their brands partners, ensuring that they are up to date on all communication.
- Be prepared to pivot
If and when a retail partner pulls back their program or reduces their payouts, content partners need to be prepared to shift course. Continuing to operate normally, by directing links and sending traffic to a brand that has paused its program, is basically giving away valuable traffic for free and missing out on any potential revenue from that traffic.
It’s totally fair to be compensated for the valuable traffic you send. Being aware of what’s happening in the space creates an opportunity to work with other brand partners that would be willing to pay for that same traffic.
For example, if you were primarily driving traffic to Amazon, which cut commissions earlier this year, it might make sense to instead direct links to a retailer like Walmart or any of the other online retail brands that are currently accepting partners.
Content partners that currently find themselves in this situation should also consider whether they’ve put too many eggs in one basket when it comes to revenue opportunities. Diversifying a brand partner portfolio now, under trying circumstances, may well set content creators up in the future when spending volume returns.
- Use editorial to rev up new partner opportunities
Content partners are always trying to maintain a balance between monetizing the work produced for their sites and maintaining an authentic, reliable, and trustworthy experience that their visitors have come to trust. Even when revenue becomes scarce, content partners need to maintain this tone, so as not to push away their audience.
Right now, it’s more important than ever for commerce and editorial teams to collaborate and identify the opportunities to capitalize on content through potential partnerships and revenue opportunities. For example, if the editorial team is reviewing a product, or comparing several similar products, they can ask the commerce team about potential affiliate or revenue-producing relationships with the brand(s) being reviewed. And what if the brand doesn’t have an established partner or affiliate program? Impact’s Elite License allows media companies to establish and manage their direct partnerships with merchants by controlling terms and agreements and operating key aspects of their relationships
Editorial teams are going to produce this content regardless because the goal is to promote and review the best products in a category, regardless of financial affiliation. Recently, review sites have been pushing out enormous amounts of content that helps consumers who remain at home, whether that’s reviewing home office supplies, streaming video providers, or the best children’s toy subscription boxes. All of these produce revenue opportunities. Again, if we think about Amazon’s reduced commissions, many of these products are likely available from other online sellers. Producing the content creates opportunities to approach other sellers, or even the brands themselves, to ask about potential partnership opportunities.
Growing revenue opportunities amid uncertainty
Content partners have a right to fret right now, but they shouldn’t fear that the sky is falling. Where some brand partners are pulling back, others are embracing the opportunity to reach new audiences at this time. By paying attention to what your largest partners are doing, identifying potential ways to pivot and diversify, and using your editorial content to your advantage, content partners can use this period of uncertainty to develop a blended partnership strategy that helps them survive the upheaval, and benefit once things return to normal.
Want more tips for content partners or pivoting during a crisis? Contact a growth technologist at email@example.com and we’ll give you ideas and solutions.